Summary Statement, 3rd Quarter, 1863 – Kansas artillery

Despite its location, Kansas provided a surprising number artillerists to the Federal Army – three “formal” batteries, plus sections within infantry (to include USCT) and cavalry formations.  As a whole, the Kansas artillerists have not received much attention from historians.  And that is our loss, as each has an interesting service history along with a cast of characters worthy of attention.

When I started out to transcribe the summaries, one caution imposed was to limit discussion of each battery to a paragraph.  Basically, just indicating the battery commander, parent formation, any notable engagement during the quarter, and clarification to the information provided in the summary.  But often I find the need to refine and expand upon the basic information, if for nothing else to correct ambiguities… quite often enough from my own notes! Such is the case here with the Kansas summaries for the third quarter of 1863.

In the previous quarter, we found the clerks had allocated a healthy set of entries, evolved from some confusing lines in earlier quarters.  Earlier in 1863, just identifying the battery’s name must have been difficult as there was some reluctance to even accept batteries from Kansas (with some in the War Department feeling there was no need for artillery in the far west).  So the battery designations evolved from commander/organizer’s name to the formal allocated number.  We see that completely adopted for the third quarter and three batteries present:

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But only two cavalry sections reporting this quarter.  Let’s work down the list:

  • 1st Battery:  Reporting at St. Louis with four 10-pdr Parrott rifles.  Captain Norman Allen died in St. Louis on July 9, 1863.  Lieutenant Marcus D. Tenney (who had for most of the year led the battery in the field) succeeded Allen, and was promoted to captain on July 20.  Around this same time of the early summer the battery transferred from Missouri to the District of Columbus, Kentucky, and was part of the Sixteenth Corps.  They took on duties guarding the railroad lines between that point and Nashville.  So by September their mail was going to a Kentucky address.
  • 2nd Battery:  At Fort Smith, Arkansas, with with four 6-pdr field guns, two 12-pdr Napoleons and two 10-pdr Parrotts. Recall we had some questions about this battery’s reported cannon in the previous quarter.  I think the line for the third quarter is more accurate, but still has question marks. The bronze 6-pdrs may have been iron.  And we have to wonder were those Parrotts came from. Captain Edward A. Smith remained in command, with the battery part of the District of the Frontier.  However, the battery was split into sections in the field.  Lieutenant Aristarchus Wilson led two sections at Fort Blunt, Cherokee Nation (where Smith was also on duty).  Lieutenant Daniel C. Knowles led the right section at Fort Scott, Kansas.  Smith reported taking two sections into action in the battle of Honey Springs, along Elk Creek, Cherokee Nation, on July 17, with Wilson in command of a section of “two 6-pounder iron guns.”  The other section possessed two 12-pdr Napoleons.  In the action, Smith moved his Napoleons through the 2nd Colorado Infantry to a position 100 yards in front, where he directed canister fire on Confederates at 300 yards, to good effect.
  • 3rd Battery: Also reporting at Fort Smith, Arkansas, with three 6-pdr field guns and one 12-pdr field howitzer.  Let me circle back and properly discuss the origin of this battery.  Henry Hopkins and John F. Aduddell recruited this battery in 1861.  But, as Kansas needed cavalry more than artillery at that time, the unit became Company B, 2nd Kansas Cavalry (However, see NOTE at bottom).  In the battle of Maysville (or Old Fort Wayne, if you prefer), on October 22, 1862, the 2nd Kansas captured three 6-pdrs and one 12-pdr howitzer – the cannon we see on the summary.   Captain Henry Hopkins organized some of his original recruits to man this “Trophy Battery.”  Hopkins remained in command of this battery through September 1863, leading it in action at Cane Hill, Prairie Grove, and Honey Springs.  The battery was often listed as “Hopkins’ Kansas battery” on returns, though occasionally, starting in February 1863, as the “3rd Kansas Battery.”  However, not until October 1863 was the designation made official. Hopkins was not always in direct command of the battery on the field, and signed his reports as part of the 2nd Kansas Cavalry, giving some measure of the “ad-hoc” status of the unit.  The battery remained in the District of the Frontier, in Colonel William Philipps’ Brigade (also including the Indian Home Guards and the 6th Kansas Cavalry).  In late September, Hopkins accepted promotion to Major, in the 2nd Kansas Cavalry and took on other duties (he was shortly after defeated in the Second Battle of Cabin Creek, which falls outside the scope of our discussions).  Lieutenant Bradford S. Bassett held temporary command until Lieutenant Aduddell returned.
  • 6th Kansas Cavalry: Stationed at North Fork (Town), Creek Nation (?), with a lieutenant in charge of “art. stores.”  Those stores included two 12-pdr mountain howitzers.  Companies of the regiment operated in the Indian Territories throughout the summer and fall.  But I do not know any specifics about the section of mountain howitzers or the officer in charge.
  • 2nd Kansas Cavalry: At Fort Smith, Arkansas, with the quartermaster reporting artillery stores. But no cannon reported.  Major Julius O. Fisk commanded the detachment of the 2nd Kansas at Fort Smith.  The Regimental Quartermaster was Lieutenant Cyrus Gorton.  Stores reported included a traveling forge and a fair quantity of tools.

If we cast our inquiries to ask if there were artillery units which should have appeared on the summary for Kansas, then the first I’d mention is Armstrong’s Battery.  Captain Andrew J. Armstrong was from Company C, 1st Kansas Colored Infantry (later 79th USCT).  The regiment formed in mid-1862, but unclear is when a section of artillery came to be associated with the unit and with Armstrong.   File this as “under research.”

Furthermore, there were several militia batteries reported by the state’s adjutant.  And as Kansas was a place where militia units would often see action, despite not being mustered into Federal service, we might mention them here (just because).  Captain A.L. Dornbergh’s Artillery was “Company D” from Allen County.  Dornbergh was a probate judge in the county and his command was called up for state service during the fall.  There were probably others, but I don’t have specific details.  But we know there were several Kansas militia batteries, as a year later, during Price’s Raid, at least four batteries were called up.  And batteries just don’t form out of thin air… someone has to have a cannon or two!

We’ll move from those speculations and on to the numbers recorded for the ammunition reported.  Starting with the smoothbore:

0259_1_Snip_KS

  • 2nd Battery: 178 shot, 229 case, and 170 canister for 6-pdr field guns; 100 shell, 36 case, and 82 canister for 12-pdr field howitzers.
  • 3rd Battery: 100 shot, 300 case, and 100 canister for 6-pdr field guns; 100 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons; 150 case for 12-pdr field howitzers.
  • 6th Kansas Cavalry: 140 case and 32 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.

In my opinion, we have several transcription errors here.  The 2nd Battery should have 12-pdr Napoleon ammunition. The 3rd Battery and the 6th Cavalry should not.  Just where the numbers should lay is not easy to determine.  The data does not track well against the previous quarter’s quantities, which did seem to be in order.

No Hotchkiss projectiles reported, so we move to the next page and specifically to the Parrott columns:

0260_1A_Snip_KS

Two batteries in mind:

  • 1st Battery: 537 shell, 125 case, and 130 canister for 10-pdr Parrott.
  • 2nd Battery: 132 shot, 444 shell, 156 case, and 75 canister for 10-pdr Parrott.

With no Schenkl or Tatham’s on hand, we can proceed to the small arms reported:

0260_3_Snip_KS

Only the three batteries reporting:

  • 1st Battery: Forty-seven Navy revolvers and twelve horse artillery sabers.
  • 2nd Battery: Thirty Army revolvers, 128 Navy revolvers, and twenty-three cavalry sabers.
  • 3rd Battery: Eighty-nine Army revolvers and one Navy revolver.

The Kansas artillerymen would present, I think, a good topic for a graduate student looking to plow a fresh field of research.

NOTE:  On May 22, 1862, the 2nd Kansas was ordered to provide a detail to man six 10-pdr Parrott rifles at Fort Leavenworth.  As Hopkins was in charge of the detail (if not at the start, at least later), the unit appeared on returns as “Hopkins’ Battery.”  From there, the battery proceeded east to Columbus, Kentucky and eventually joined the Army of the Mississippi at Corinth, Mississippi.  In September, the detachment was released from this duty and returned to Kansas.  As these men had experience with artillery, they were, of course, selected to man the new “Trophy Battery” a month later.  Some have interpreted this as a single battery lineage, as the commander and many of the men were the same.  However, the muster rolls don’t bear that out, meaning at the time, at least administratively, the two were separate units.  I won’t argue against it! Nor will I make the statement for it!

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Summary Statement, 1st Quarter, 1863 – Indiana’s Batteries, Part 1

After some “time away” let me resume work on the summary statements for first quarter, 1863.  In clerk’s sequence, the next state’s batteries to review are those of Indiana.  For fourth quarter, 1862, I listed twenty-one batteries in one post.  And for the first quarter of 1863 we have twenty five batteries to consider:

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For brevity, I’ll break them down into parts this go around. In this installment, let us focus on the first twelve batteries:

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Plenty enough to discuss with those twelve:

  • 1st Battery:  No report. Through the winter, the battery was in the Department of the Missouri, District of St. Louis, in the Second Division of that district.  However, along with its parent brigade, the battery was transferred starting April 1863 to Fourteenth Division, Thirteenth Corps to join the forces operating against Vicksburg.  Captain Martin Klauss commanded.
  • 2nd Battery: Reporting at Springfield, Missouri with two 6-pdr field guns and four 3.80-inch James Rifles. Lieutenant Hugh Espey commanded this battery, assigned to the District of Southwestern Missouri.
  • 3rd Battery: Also indicated as at Springfield, Missouri but with two 6-pdr field guns, two 12-pdr Napoleons, and two 3.67-inch rifles. Also part of the District of Southwestern Missouri, Captain James M. Cockefair commanded this battery.
  • 4th Battery:  At Murfreesboro, Tennessee with two 12-pdr Napoleons, two 12-pdr field howitzers, and two 3.80-inch James Rifles. Captain Asahel Bush retained command that spring, with assignment to Third Division, Twentieth Corps.  Later in the spring, Lieutenant David Fansburg assumed command with battery moved to First Division, Fourteenth Corps.
  • 5th Battery: At Shell Mound, Tennessee with two 12-pdr Napoleons, one 10-pdr Parrott, and one 3.80-inch James Rifle. Shell Mound was a landing on the Tennessee River downstream from Chattanooga.  And that location was probably valid for the reporting time of December 1863.  In March 1863, the battery was with Second Division, Twentieth Corps, at Murfreesboro.  Captain Peter Simonson moved up to command the division’s artillery brigade, leaving Lieutenant Alfred Morrison with the battery.
  • 6th Battery: Reporting from Lafayette, Tennessee with two 6-pdr field guns and two 3.80-inch James Rifles. Officially assigned to First Division, Sixteenth Corps, Captain Michael Mueller commanded. The battery had postings across west Tennessee until June, when dispatched with the rest of the division to Vicksburg.
  • 7th Battery: McMinnville, Tennessee with two 12-pdr Napoleons and four 10-pdr Parrotts. Captain George R. Swallow’s battery supported Third Division, Twenty-First Corps as the Army of the Cumberland reorganized at Murfreesboro through the winter.  Though McMinnville appears to be derived from the August report filing.
  • 8th Battery: No return. Captain George Estep retained command of this battery.  In the winter reorganizations, the battery was posted to First Division, Twenty-First Corps at Murfreesboro.
  • 9th Battery: No return. Lieutenant George R. Brown commanded this battery, assigned to Fourth Division, Sixteenth Corps.  It was left behind that spring to garrison the District of Columbus, in Kentucky.
  • 10th Battery: At Murfreesboro, Tennessee with two 12-pdr field howitzers and four 10-pdr Parrotts. Captain Jerome B. Cox held command when the battery was assigned to First Division, Twenty-First Corps that winter.  Later in the spring Lieutenant William A. Naylor assumed command.
  • 11th Battery: No return. Captain Arnold Sutermeister’s battery began the winter assigned to the Army of the Cumberland’s artillery reserve at Nashville.  Spring found them assigned to Third Division, Twentieth Corps, preparing for the Tullahoma Campaign at Murfreesboro.
  • 12th Battery: At Nashville, Tennessee as siege artillery.  The fort is named, but I cannot transcribe it directly.  Returns list the battery assigned to Fort Negley, with four 4.5-inch Ordnance siege rifles under Captain James E. White.

We see seven of these twelve batteries assigned to the Army of the Cumberland.  Three were posted to Grant’s command, though only two would be active in the field for the Vicksburg Campaign.  And two were posted to southwest Missouri.  As for armament, from the batteries reporting we see six 6-pdr field guns, eight Napoleons, four 12-pdr howitzers, nine Parrotts, nine James Rifles, and two of those rifled 6-pdr “look-alikes” to the James.  The latter is interesting to flag.  We see again the artillerists and ordnance authorities indicating a difference between the 3.80-inch and 3.67-inch rifles, in the forms.

A lot of smoothbore ammunition to account for:

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As nearly every battery reporting had a smoothbore or two:

  • 2nd Battery: 241 shot, 400 case, and 191 canister for 6-pdr field guns.
  • 3rd Battery: 105 shot, 141 case, and 132 canister for 6-pdr field guns; 136 shot, 406 shell,  227 case, and 300 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • 4th Battery: 96 shot, 32 shell, 96 case, and 32 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons; 79 shell, 96 case, and 66 canister for 12-pdr field howitzers.
  • 5th Battery: 96 shot, 32 shell, 94 case, and 33 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • 6th Battery: 320 shot, 160 case, and 80 canister for 6-pdr field guns.
  • 7th Battery: 24 shot, 8 shell, 28 case, and 8 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • 10th Battery: 115 shell, 100 case, and 116 canister for 12-pdr field howitzers.

Moving to the rifled columns, we find no Hotchkiss projectiles reported on hand.  On the next page, we can focus on James and Parrott projectiles (full page posted for review):

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Looking at the James projectiles first:

  • 2nd Battery: 120 shot and 176 shell in 3.80-inch.
  • 3rd Battery: 52 shot, 273 shell, and 24 canister in 3.80-inch.
  • 4th Battery: 16 shot and 12 canister for 3.80-inch.

The presented quantities beg questions.  First, 3rd Battery had 2.67-inch rifles, as tallied in the first page but apparently had 3.80-inch projectiles.  So we must assume one or the other figure is incorrect.  Second, what about 5th and 6th Batteries and their James?  Well half of that question will be answered later.

And the Parrotts:

  • 5th Battery: 145 shell and 24 canister in 2.9-inch (10-pdr).
  • 7th Battery:  210 shell and 380 case in 2.9-inch.
  • 10th Battery:  463 shell, 225 case, and 94 canister in 2.9-inch.

Here we see a nice match to the reported weapons and projectiles on hand.

Moving to columns for Schenkl’s and Tatham’s projectiles, we have half an answer to a question:

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  • 4th Battery: 205 Schenkl shell for 3.80-inch rifle; 35 Tatham canister for 3.80-inch.
  • 5th Battery: 90 Schenkl shell for 3.80-inch; 32 Tatham canister for 3.80-inch rifle.

So we still don’t know what the 6th Battery had on hand for its James rifles, but the 5th had Schenkl shells and Tatham canister.

Moving to the small arms:

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By battery:

  • 2nd Battery: Twenty-eight Army revolvers and twenty-eight cavalry sabers.
  • 3rd Battery:  Three Navy revolvers and ten horse artillery sabers.
  • 4th Battery: Twenty-six Army revolvers and ten cavalry sabers.
  • 5th Battery: Seven horse artillery sabers.
  • 6th Battery: Twenty-four Cavalry Sabers.
  • 7th Battery: Only two cavalry sabers.
  • 10th Battery: Twenty Army revolvers and nine cavalry sabers.

An allocation of small arms within reason for artillerists assigned to, presumably, strictly artillery duties.

We’ll look at the other half of the Indiana batteries in the next installment.

The “high water mark” of his campaign: Price approaches St. Louis

I’m going to borrow steal an apt description of events from Mark A. Lause in regard to October 1-2, 1864 – Major-General Sterling Price’s Missouri Campaign reached its high water mark.  Lause considers it the high point for the entire war in the Trans-Mississippi.  And in one aspect, one can make that case.

The town of Franklin (now Pacific), Missouri was an important railroad junction about 30 miles outside of St. Louis, the city.   And just beyond the town was the western border of St. Louis County.  For all practical purposes, Franklin was the last point to block Price’s advance short of St. Louis itself.

Price_Campaign_Oct1

Just as important to its proximity to St. Louis, Franklin was were the Southwest Branch Railroad, which connected Rolla and central Missouri to St. Louis, and the Pacific Railroad, linking westward to the state capital in Jefferson City, met.  If the Federals needed to shift troops to meet Price’s columns, they would transit through Franklin.   In short, those railroads made Franklin very important if the Federals planned to hold Missouri.

With the importance of Franklin in mind, Price dispatched a brigade of cavalry under Brigadier-General William Cabell.  The Confederates arrived early on the morning of October 1 and brushed past a Federal garrison stationed there.  Cabell’s troops went to work destroying the railroad, the depot, and several nearby bridges.  Most of the rolling stock and stores had already moved east to St. Louis, so there was little of material gain.

However, that evacuation of rolling stock had actually worked against the Federals who were pushing a brigade under Colonel Edward Wolfe.  His command was the Third Brigade, Third Division, of Major-General Andrew J. Smith’s Sixteenth Army Corps… that is to say, a portion of the Union Army’s “Fire Brigade” in the Western Theater.  And Wolfe’s men were being thrown right into a fire!

While still on the train, Wolfe’s men ran into the Confederate lines just east of Franklin.  Confederate artillery shelled the train and the troops.  Despite the confusion of having to dismount under fire, the Federals managed to get organized.  The trail regiments formed and soon the Confederates were pressed out of the town. The battle lasted only a few hours and casualties were about a dozen on each side.  But the damage was done.

Reporting to St. Louis later in the day, Wolfe said, “They have plundered the town and destroyed considerable railroad track. I have no doubt the Meramec bridge in front has been destroyed.” During his stay, Cabell destroyed four bridges and a large section of track.  With the railroad down, the direct link to Jefferson City was severed.  Price had effectively split the Federal defense of Missouri.

While that was going on, further to the west Price moved towards the town of Union (aptly named, eh?).   After the Confederates brushed aside a small force of Missouri militia, they occupied the town where Price established headquarters – Camp No. 33 in the itinerary of his army.  There, with his force still numbering at least 10,000 (though what portion of which was actually in arms will forever remain a question), Price could indeed threaten St. Louis and perhaps do a little more damage.

Adding weight to Price’s threat, the Missouri Commander of the Order of American Knights, John H. Taylor, issued a bold proclamation on October 1:

Sir Knights: Morning dawneth. General Price with at least 20,000 veteran soldiers is now within your State. Through your supreme commander (and with the approbation of the supreme council) you invited him to come to your aid. He was assured that if he came at this time with the requisite force you would co operate and add at least 20,000 true men to his army. He has hearkend to your prayer and is now battling for your deliverance. …

All able-bodied men of the O. A. K.s are hereby called upon and required to render military service in behalf of our cause. All true knights will yield prompt obedience to the orders and commands of General Price. Meantime do all possible damage to the enemy. Seize all arms and munitions of war within your power. Take possession of and hold all important places you can, and recruit as rapidly as possible. …. You joined the militia that you might the better protect yourselves under Radical rule. Now prepare to strike with the victorious hosts under General Price and aid in the redemption of the State. …. (Read the full proclamation here.)

This statement seemed to confirm earlier warnings by Major-General William Rosecrans regarding the secret organization.  And certainly Price was meeting one of his objectives – adding more men to his command, by way of recruitment… or more accurately, re-recruitment.

On the Federal side, Rosecrans assessed the force protecting St. Louis as

General Smith’s 4,500 infantry and the mounted force we could raise, the Seventh Kansas, just in from Memphis, part of the Thirteenth Missouri Volunteer Cavalry… and recruits of Merrill’s Horse, hastily mounted and organized, a total of 1,500 men….

On paper at least, Price had an opportunity.  But there at Union, Price hesitated.  He had some wild indications of the Federal strength in St. Louis to number upwards of 24,000.  And at the same time, he did not want to call out for more Missourians to join his army, fearing that would add a long line of civilian refugees just when the force might need to march fast.

Instead of moving on St. Louis, Price turned his army along the Missouri River, where the state capital of Jefferson City and, to the north of that, the counties of Little Dixie were within grasp.

(Citations from OR, Series I, Volume 41, Part I, Serial 83, page 310; Part III, Serial 85, pages 537 and 975.)